Understanding Speaker Parts

Speaker Parts

It is very important to understand the parts of a speaker since it helps to demonstrate how speaker specifications compare to each other.

A complete understanding of how a speaker is built internally provides enhanced knowledge.

Knowing this helps to visualize what differences count on a different type of speaker for space.

Basic Speaker Parts

All speakers share the same basic speaker parts and those are the driver, enclosure, diaphragm, cone, voice coil, dust cap, spider, surround, driver diaphragm, basket, gasket, magnet, and assembly.

The Driver

A loudspeaker is defined as the sound driver or driver.

The driver is the main element of the speaker system since it converts line-level voltage from your speaker amplifier into sound by pushing and pulling air molecules in waves that the human ear interests as sound.

A driver can be made from different materials — from the reinforced paper cone shape, a metal dome diaphragm or a carbon fiber element; all within a metal coil.

The Enclosure

Made from wood, plastic and in some cases drywall or concrete, the enclosure is the box or cavity where the driver is mounted.

The enclosure can contain one driver or several drivers.

No speaker can exist without an enclosure.

The dimensions of the enclosure determine the volume of air movement, Therefore, the sound force a speaker can create in a given room.

This correlation states that the size of a speaker enclosure should be related to the size of the room.

A loudspeaker engineered for a bigger room will unfortunately not sound as good in a smaller room. And correlatively, the same holds true for the other way round.

Speaker enclosures come several designs such as ported reflex that have a hole in the front or back to leak more bass.

Fascinating enough, some others are completely sealed — well designed sealed enclosures tend to produce more accurate sound.

Well-made speaker enclosures use structures that have been re-enforced and mostly referred to in speaker specs as a braced enclosure.

This is done like this to reassure that the enclosure vibrates as little as possible to avoid undesirable coloration to sound.

Especially at the resonant frequency of the enclosure which tends to be closer to the upper bass frequencies.

The Diaphragm

The diaphragm is the device that converts mechanical motion into sound waves.

The Cone

The cone is a diaphragm that is attached to the voice coil.

The cone is the part that contains a bigger surface and is designed for maximum air movement when the voice coil moves.

The body of the cone can be made from paper, carbon fiber, black polypropylene, aluminum, titanium, phenolic, magnesium, granite, fiberglass, ceramic or kevlar.

The Voice Coil

Made from copper wire, the voice coil is an electromagnet that provides the motive force to the cone by the reaction of a magnetic field to the current passing through it.

The voice coil is a set of windings wound around an aluminum, Nomex, Kapton or other material forms.

It is made using flat or round wound wire. Nominal impedances are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 16 or 32 ohms.

The Dust Cap

The dust cap is a diaphragm designed to cover the voice coil opening other internal parts of the speaker.  It can be made of paper, aluminum, felt, rubber, screen, or polypropylene.

The Spider

Made from treated paper coated with adhesive glue, the spider is located internally inside the speaker.

Main function of the spider is to preserve the voice coil aligned properly and to reassure that the speaker comes back to its normal position between vibrations.  

It’s like a safety mechanism that ensures all interior parts stay in place. The Spider snuggly fits around the voice coil and is attached to the speaker basket.

The Surround

The surround is the poly-foam, foam, butyl, accordion or a single cloth or “m” roll cloth ring that holds the cone and the basket together.

It acts as a suspension system that works harmonically with the spider to bring the cone to its normal position between vibrations.

Driver Diaphragm

The driver diaphragm is attached to the metal basket via an acoustic spider suspension at one end and a flexible surround at the other.

The Basket

The basket is the structure made from aluminum or plastic that protects all the interior parts and serves as and structural reinforcement so no additional distortions can be created.

The Gasket

Made from foam, rubber or chip cardboard and the main function of the gasket is to minimize vibration between the driver and the enclosure.

The Magnet

The magnet is made of a group of metals called the ferromagnetic metals.

These are metals like iron and nickel.

These metals have the special property of being capable to be magnetized.

On a speaker, the magnet is a big mass located on the back of the speaker.

The magnet serves as a negative or positive inverter for the voice coil which in returns makes the diaphragms move and make the driver make a sound.

The Assembly

The diaphragm, spider and surround are firmly attached to a voice coil suspended by a magnetic field created by a permanent magnet.

The entire assembly is free to move in accordance with the movement created by the voice coil in response to the electric signal.

This movement moves air into the room to create sound.

Speaker Design

It is very important to understand speaker parts by the way they are designed since speaker design helps to demonstrate how speaker specifications compare to each other.

A complete understanding of how a speaker is built internally provides enhanced knowledge that can be visualized to depict what differences count on different types of speakers.

That’s mostly why a great loudspeaker manufacturer spends years and millions of dollars researching and developing a model line that it’s worth to carry the manufacturer’s logo.